A well prepared survey can bring great value to a nonprofit | Miratel Solutions

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Six key ways a donor survey can help your nonprofit fundraising planning

Nonprofit fundraising often strives to employ the best in new technology and social media tips to move forward the dual goals of audience engagement and sourcing potential new donors. Much of what I write relates to overall trends in the sector and technology tips that can help accomplish the above. However another valuable and sometimes overlooked tool is the reader/audience survey which can help you harvest important feedback from those that already follow your charity and hold opinions about it.

Providing you have a reasonably broad sample population of supporters to work with, a survey can provide invaluable information about your next best steps plus it’s not expensive to conduct in the online era. The value of the survey is contained within the questions posed which can provide insight into what you are recognised for, what you do well and where you can improve. Compiling appropriate demographic data will let you know where your audience look for news and information, how they most like to receive updates and with what frequency. You can also learn the major reasons about why a donor supports your organization and how they perceive the efficiencies and impact of the work that you perform.

Building and implementing a survey thus becomes a critical ongoing part of your fundraising strategy and your questions should orbit around these six topics. The data you compile can likely provide justification for fine-tuning your fundraising approach and deliver both better results and more donor engagement.


Within your organization you have a precise understanding of your charity’s goals, accomplishments and overall brand – but how well does this match up the perception held by your supporters?

Explore what they thought of the organization prior to any involvement and how that compares with what they’ve learned since. Is the perception of the work you do positive and where can it be improved. Are there things you can do more effectively and information that would better explain the difference between perceptions and reality. How is your charity regarded versus others that may be performing very similar work? What has been the most important fact that a supporter has learned about your organization?


Do your intended and current supporters see value in the services that you provide and is there any order to which services they see as being most critical? Do they have a good understanding of everything that your organization does? Can they quickly identify/have they identified what your overall goals are?


This remains one of the most important areas for potential improvement and your audience can help you understand how best to spread your message. Are your current marketing channels doing an effective job in sharing updates? Are they happy with the frequency? How often do they visit your social media channels or website? What do they think of these channels? How did they first learn about you? Ask whether more or less communication is needed regarding fundraising, internal news, goals and achievements. Are they receiving and reading emails?


Donor History:

Understanding how your donor relationship began is an important consideration. Find out how people first heard of the organization and what steps they took to get involved. What key factors fostered that relationship? What accomplishments/goals of your organization do they most identify with?


Volunteering is such an important part of fundraising and one that truly  builds long-term support. Explore what motivates people to volunteer for your organization and the specific things they seek and gain from the overall experience of volunteering. Seek out how you can make the overall volunteer experience more valuable and rewarding. How aware of volunteer opportunities is your audience and how interested are they in these opportunities?


At the heart of your fundraising activities and the support that you receive are the values of your organization and your audience. Understanding their cares and concerns allows you to better articulate the work you are doing. Explore the motivation to donate and the priorities of your audience by understanding the causes that matter most to them. Seek to better understand how well your overall goals match your audience by better determining the importance of local impact, global impact, transparency and trust.

There may certainly be other arenas that a well crafted survey can explore for your organization and armed with that plus a stronger understanding via the six areas outlined above you are better positioned than ever to move boldly and successfully forward with your future plans. If you have any specific donor survey related tips that you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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